Study in Malaysia: Costs, Scholarships & Admissions 2020

Study in Malaysia

Having a politically stable economy and home to diverse cultures, Malaysia is a blissful mix of urban cities and rustic wildlife. Having an excellent education system that is meticulously designed to meet the needs of a multicultural society, the country has progressively emerged as one of the prominent student destinations in Asia. Home to many internationally famed institutions, it is well-known for providing quality education at inexpensive costs as well as simpler visa and immigration procedure thus attracting students from across the globe. If you are gearing up to study in Malaysia, this blog will familiarize you with all the key essentials including the top universities, costs, scholarships and visa procedure for Indian students.

Why Study in Malaysia?

Every year, the land of Islands attracts a plethora of international students from around the world wanting to pursue their higher education here! There are many compelling reasons that might convince you to study in Malaysia and we have explored some of the prominent ones below:

Top-Notch Universities

The academic institutions in Malaysia are generally classified into public and private tertiary education institutions and are internationally acclaimed for their prospective programs and excellent learning methodologies. Further, the government has invested massively into the education sector to bring it amongst the prominent ones in Asia and there are many global universities that have branched into the country such as Newcastle University, Heriot-Watt University, University of Reading, etc. 
The higher education institutions provide English-taught courses for those aspiring to study in Malaysia and are especially known for their twinning programmes which allow the students to study in Malaysia for a few years and then conclude the latter part in another country. 

Multicultural Environment

To study in Malaysia is to experience a multicultural hub of diverse cultures and ethnicities! Blending the Malay, Indian, Indigenous tribes as well as Chinese cultures, the country lives up to its tagline of “Truly Asia”! It has embraced different cultures of Asia and warmly welcomes international students from across the globe. While pursuing your education here, you can avail the chance to immerse in this incredible environment, meet people from different cultures, learn a new language and so much more!

Affordable Tuition Fees & Living Costs

Affordability is a key factor that entices students across the world to study in Malaysia. With Kuala Lumpur featured at #29 amongst the most affordable and economical ones in the QS Student Cities Rankings 2019, one can be relieved about taking care of different costs as the cost of living is quite inexpensive and the tuition fee is also within the economical range. As per the Malaysian Ministry of Education’s portal, you can expect the tuition fees of pre-university to post-graduate programmes somewhere between the range of 2,16,000 INR to 7,18,000 INR. 

Flourishing Economy

Having a diversified economy, the country diversified it after independence and since then has strived towards curtailing poverty rates as well as abridging income inequalities. It is amongst the open economies in the world to embrace globalisation and foreign trade which is what has helped it flourish immensely. So, making your decision to study in Australia, you will also be opening many doors to career possibilities given its thriving tourism, industrial, agricultural and medical sectors.

Beautiful Nation

Life becomes more cheerful when we stay in beautiful places. We recommend you to take a break during the course so that you can reap the benefits of the beautiful landscapes of the nation. You can visit rainforests, jungles, islands, highlands, and places that only natives know. Yes, some natives know places that are not popular. Don’t just study in Malaysia, make some friends and explore the beautiful nation too.

Delicious Food

Once you walk around the streets, you will know how obsessed Malaysians are with foods. International students get a chance to try out various cuisines while studying in Malaysia. You can also enjoy some of the top dishes like Roti Canai, Nasi Lemak, Mee Goreng, Milo Ais, Curry Laks, and Kopi Beng. 

Balanced Weather

The weather remains constant 365 days. You may experience a pleasant sun every day. No, it’s not that hot as sprinkles of rain are there to balance the weather of the nation. Once the rain overs, you get more pleasant weather to hang out and chill while you study in Malaysia.

Prerequisites To Study in Malaysia

Though there is no particular age limit set for those wanting to study in Malaysia, there are certain eligibility requirements that you must fulfil in order to apply for a university here. These requirements will mainly depend on the course and the institution you have decided to opt for so you need to go through the course prospectus thoroughly before making your way towards the application. Moreover, some general prerequisites to study in Malaysia are as follows:

English Proficiency Test Scores

Since major academic institutions offer English-taught programs, those aspiring to study in Malaysia need to provide proof of their English proficiency. Further, the English competency of a candidate must fulfil the requirements specified by the program as approved by the Malaysia Qualifications Agency (MQA). While registering for a Visa Approval Letter, you need to provide English proficiency test scores of any of the following:

Note: Requirements of English proficiency test scores largely depend upon the program as well as the candidature as some courses might require language proficiency and for students of English-speaking countries, the necessity for language tests might be exempted. Students are advised to review the eligibility criteria of their chosen course before applying for it.

Health Screening (Post Arrival)

Another essential thing you need to ensure that you go through a medical screening once you have arrived in Malaysia at any of the registered panel clinics or health centres of the Education Malaysia Global Services. From June 1, 2019, the immigration department exempted those who wanted to study in Malaysia to undergo a pre-arrival medical screening. However, you will be required to attach a health declaration form alongside your Visa Approval Letter which is needed to obtain Malaysian e-visa for Indian students. If you have recently undergone any major medical treatment or on any medication, then it is better to acquire a letter from your local doctor mentioning your procedure (s) or medication so that it can be provided while opting for medical screening upon your arrival in Malaysia.

Step-By-Step Method to Get Admission in Malaysian Universities

It can be taxing trying to figure everything out so we’ve put in a step by step guide for you:

Step 1: Research well about the courses and programs you would want to study in Malaysia. See which ones are suitable for your career and which aren’t. 

Step 2: Now check the eligibility criteria of your universities online. Make a list of the ones that are attractive and match up with your eligibility.

Step 3: For initial approval, you have to send an email to the university of your choice representing your current qualifications. Once they approve your qualifications, you will be replied within 3-5 working days.

Step 4: Prepare the following documents to ensure convenient admission to study in Malaysia :

  • 7 passport size photographs
  • Certified copies or transcripts of the previous academic results
  • A valid passport with a year of validity
  • General medical report to prove that your health is normal
  • Certifications in IELTS, TOEFL or C1 Advanced 
  • Application form

Step 5: Once you get approved, you will receive the following acceptance package from the university: 

  • Student’s Copy
  • Office Copy
  • Accommodation Booking Form
  • Acceptance Letter
  • Payment Advice Form
  • Arrival Services Form 
  • Course Fee Refund Policy

Step 6: Once you receive the above package, submit it to the Malaysian Immigration Department to get a student visa. This process may take up to 6 weeks. So stay relaxed for a while. 

Step 7: After the approval of your student visa request, you will get a student visa approval letter by a mail from the Malaysian Immigration Department. 

Step 8: Now is the high time to approach the Malaysian Embassy or Consulate to get your Single Entry Visa. After getting a visa, arrange your flight and submit arrival services form after the confirmation of flight details. 

Step 9: That’s it. When you arrive at the university, make sure that you settle all the finances as soon as possible and attend the required medical test at the advised medical clinic. 

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Cost of Studying In Malaysia

When it comes to education costs as well as living expenses, your decision to study in Malaysia can be quite budget-friendly. Though tuition fees might differ from one university to another, public higher education institutions are quite economical. Estimated on an average, for a bachelor’s degree, you can expect to 11,800$-14,000$ [7,00,000 INR- 100,000 INR] per year while $10,000-$12,700 [7,00,000INR-8,65,000 INR] for a master’s program as per the data given on the Malaysian Ministry of Education’s official portal.

Further, approximating the cost of living while making your plans to study in Malaysia, there are two options of accommodation either on-campus or off-campus. For school housings, you can expect to pay around $80-$300 [5500 INR-21,600INR] while for a rented apartment, the prices can go around $100-$700 [7,000 INR-50,000 INR] and for a condominium, the rent comes approximately at $150-$2000 [10,000 INR-1,43,000 INR]. On the other hand, your chosen city will also impact the total costs to study in Malaysia as Kuala Lumpur can prove to be a slightly expensive than a smaller town. Health insurance is also incremental for international students and for this, you can take help from your chosen academic institution to find the best policies. Also, foreign students are also allowed to work part-time for 20 hours a week only during semester break and festive holidays but it is important that your student pass must indicate that you have been permitted to work while studying in Malaysia.

Scholarships for Indians to Study in Malaysia

Almost all academic institutions, as well as the national government, provide financial aid schemes for International students aspiring to study in Malaysia. Once you have set your mind on a course, you can explore different universities and their prospective scholarship programmes. To help you in your research, we have listed down some of the major scholarships that you must consider to study in Malaysia:

ProviderScholarships to Study in Malaysia
University of Nottingham (Malaysia Campus)-Developing Solutions Masters Programme
-University of Nottingham High Achievers Scholarship in Malaysia (Undergraduate Programmes)
Malaysian GovernmentMalaysia International Scholarships (MIS) (Postgraduate & Postdoctoral Studies)
Monash UniversityMonash University High Achiever Award (Undergraduate Programmes)
Asia Pacific University of Technology & InnovationAsia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation Scholarship (Undergraduate, Postgraduate & Foundation Programmes)
Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK)Yayasan KLK Undergraduate Scholarship at Malaysian Institutions of Higher Learning (Undergraduate Programmes)
Heriot-Watt UniversityHeriot-Watt-Velesto Petroleum Engineering Scholarship for International Students in Malaysia (Undergraduate Programmes)
Nagao Natural Environment Foundation (NEF)Nagao Natural Environment Foundation Research Grant Programme for Asia-Pacific Region (Training and Certificate Programmes)
Heriot-Watt University,MBA Partial Fee Scholarships at Heriot-Watt University in Malaysia (MBA Programmes)
A3 Education and TrainingFoundation Diploma Scholarships in Malaysia(Diploma Programmes)

Visa Procedure

Let’s understand the procedure of obtaining a visa to study in Malaysia through the following five steps:

Applying for Student Visa

To begin with, you need to first initiate your visa application either by yourself or through your university. Make sure that your candidature fits the specified prerequisites indicated by the institution. Afterwards, your application will be sent by the university to the Director of Pass & Permit Division of Malaysia. Also, the applicant’s passport requires to be valid for a period of more than one year unless it will be rejected.

Also, for this application stage to get the visa to study in Malaysia, you need to provide the following documents:

  • Copy of Passport
  • Acceptance/Offer Letter from the university
  • Health Declaration Form (available on the Malaysian immigration website here)
  • Academic certificates & Transcripts
  • Personal Bond (to be filled by the university on the behalf of the candidate)
  • No-objection Certificate
  • English Proficiency Scores (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, CPE, CAE and MUET)

Getting a Visa Application Letter

Once your application gets the approval from the immigration department of Malaysia, you will be provided with an Electronic (VAL) Visa Application Letter. It is incremental that you keep a printed and soft copy of your Visa Application Letter throughout the process. To move to the next stage, the authorities will require another 14 days and applicants can track the status of their application by clicking here.

Obtaining a Student E-Visa

For Indian students to get a visa to study in Malaysia, obtaining a visa application letter is not the end of the road. Now, you need to apply for an e-visa which will take approximately 48 hours to process after which you can head to Malaysia where you will be provided with student pass and i-Kad (explained in detail in next step).

Travelling to Malaysia & Visiting Your University

Landing in Malaysia, you will be asked to provide your Visa Application Letter (VAL) along with an e-visa and relevant paperwork (immigration-related) at the checkpoint. Then, you can head towards your institution to check your accommodation and also don’t forget to register at the university’s international student office to notify them about your arrival. Also, it is important for you to go for a medical screening at an EMGS-registered (panel) clinic within a period of 7 days after arriving in Malaysia. Keep in mind that all of these things need to be accomplished within a month.

Acquiring A Student Pass & i-Kad

The final step of the procedure is to visit the immigration office in your city and obtain the Student Pass as well as i-Kad (foreign national identity card) once your documents get verified there. i-Kad is actually an identity card for those coming to study in Malaysia or for any other purposes are staying in the country and it is generally issued alongside a student pass. From then onwards, you don’t need to carry a passport or student pass anywhere as your i-Kad will work as your proof identification and study.

Top Universities to Study in Malaysia

Back in the day, studying in Malaysia wasn’t as popular as studying in Singapore or Hong Kong. Now the universities of Malaysia have made their place into the lists of top 200 world-class educational institutions. The credit for the success of universities goes to Malaysian government enforcement and legislation. Take a look at the following table lists down the top-ranked universities and academic institutions to study in Malaysia as per THE World Universities Rankings 2020:

UniversityGlobal RankCountry Rank
University of Malaya301-3501
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)501-6002
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia601-800=3
Universiti Malaysia Perlis601-800=3
Universiti Putra Malaysia601-800=3
Universiti Sains Malaysia601-800=3
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia601-800=3
Universiti Teknologi Petronas601-800=3
Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN)801-1000=9
Universiti Utara Malaysia801-1000=9
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)801-1000=9
Multimedia University1000+=11
Universiti Teknologi MARA1000+=11

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)

Starting as a not-for-profit organisation in 2002 to provide quality education at economical costs, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman has two campuses in Kualalumpur and is constituted of nine faculties, 3 academic centres and 32 research centres. It offers a plethora of programmes including bachelor’s, foundation, double degrees, master’s, English language programmes, public training, professional qualification, corporate training as well as short-term courses in Business and Finance, Arts & Social Studies, Extension Studies, Chinese Studies, Science, IT and Communication Technology, Engineering and Green Technology, to name a few.

Universiti Sains Malaysia

Founded as the second university in Malaysia in 1969, the Universiti Sains Malaysia is spread across 17 dedicated research centres working on different specialisations such as medicine and dentistry, science and technology, policy research, molecular medicine, archaeology, Islamic development and management studies and international studies. It offers an array of programmes at bachelor’s and master’s level in the domains of Social Science, Humanities, Medical and Health Sciences, Applied Sciences, Natural Sciences, Building Sciences and Technology, etc.

University of Malaya

Established in 1905 primarily as the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore, the University of Malaya got its present name when it merged with Raffles College in 1928. Currently, it comprises of a total of 12 faculties namely, Education, Dentistry, Engineering, Medicine, Sciences, Arts & Social Sciences, amongst others and offers varied foundation, associate, diploma, executive learning, bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes to those aspiring to study in Malaysia. It has also partnered with numerous academic institutions around the globe and has prominent links with France, the USA, Australia and Japan.

University of Science, Malaysia

As the name suggests, the university specializes in science and is one of the best to study in Malaysia. The university was established 50 years ago. Today, it has three main campuses in the following regions:

  • Island of Penang (Main campus)
  • Nibong Tebal (An Engineering campus)
  • Kelantan (Health Campus)

The university aims to bring the best out of their students. They want them to know their “why”. You won’t get disappointed here. In fact, by the end of your course, you will end up knowing so much about your purpose in life. Now, you may ask “How can a science university coach us about self-growth or matters related to practical life?”. Actually, that’s what different here. You’re not only going to study academics, but you’re also going to study your own self too. If we check the list of its alumni, we will find out some of the most influential scientific brains. 

National University of Malaysia

Generally, they call it as UKM or Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. It’s a non-profit university in the southern region of the Kuala Lumpur which was formed 49 years ago. Currently, it has more than 23,000 students enrolled. Out of these 23,000 students, 1300 are international students who belong to 35 nationalities. Its accredited by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education making it an even more desirable university for the international students to study in Malaysia. At present, the university is committed to staying one step ahead of society and time regarding matters of development, dynamic learning, and moral society. 

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

This is the innovative entrepreneurial research university of technology and engineering. It is located in the capital of the nation, Kuala Lumpur. Internationals often call this university as UTM or the University of Technology. So don’t get confused with various names. For engineering, the faculty has been divided into Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical and Biomedical departments. Apart from this, the faculties are further classified into Pure Sciences, Education, Management and Human Resources Development. At present, the university is committed to achieving mastery in the development of science & technology and human resources. 

Related Read: Colleges in Malaysia

Malaysia is one of the most inexpensive study abroad destinations for international students. Owing to the economical cost of studying and living as well as the array of educational prospects and simpler immigration policies, studying in Malaysia can be an incredible opportunity to get the international exposure in your chosen field of study! Reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu and we’ll guide you throughout the process of selecting a suitable course and university, kickstarting the visa process, drafting impressive SOP and LORs and ensuring that you get the entry ticket to your chosen institution in the land of Islands!

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